Several large Canadian companies, including the Bank of Nova Scotia, Suncor and Air Canada, have come together for a pilot project to use rapid, antigen COVID-19 tests to get people back into workplaces safely during the pandemic.
Several large Canadian companies, including the Bank of Nova Scotia, Suncor and Air Canada, have come together for a pilot project to use rapid, antigen COVID-19 tests to get people back into workplaces safely during the pandemic.
In the opening moments of a Golden Globes night even more chaotic and confounding than usual, co-host Tina Fey raised a theoretical question: “Could this whole night have been an email?” Only the next three hours would tell. Well, sure, it could have been an email. But then you wouldn't have had Chadwick Boseman’s eloquent widow, bringing many to tears as she explained how she could never be as eloquent as her late husband. Or Jane Fonda, sharply calling out Hollywood for its lack of diversity on a night when her very hosts were under fire for exactly that. Or Chloé Zhao, making history as the first woman of Asian descent to win best director (and the first woman since 1984.) Or 98-year-old Norman Lear, giving the simplest explanation for his longevity: never living or laughing alone. Or Jodie Foster kissing her wife joyfully, eight years after very tentatively coming out on the same telecast. Of course, there were the usual confounding results and baffling snubs, compounded here by some epic Zoom fails. But then we had the kids and the dogs. And they were adorable. Next year, can we still have the kids and the dogs, please? Some key moments of the first and hopefully last virtual Globes night: AN OVERDUE RECKONING The evening began under a cloud of embarrassing revelations about the Hollywood Foreign Press Association and its lack of inclusion, including the damaging fact that there are no Black members in the 87-person body. Fey and co-host Amy Poehler addressed it early: “Even with stupid things, inclusivity is important." Winners like Daniel Levy of “Schitt's Creek” and presenters like Sterling K. Brown referred to it. Jane Fonda made it a theme of her powerful speech accepting the Cecil B. DeMille award. And the HFPA made a hasty onstage pledge to change. “We recognize we have our own work to do,” said vice-president Helen Hoehne. “We must have Black journalists in our organization.” “I DON'T HAVE HIS WORDS” The best-actor award to Chadwick Boseman for “Ma Rainey's Black Bottom” had been expected. That did not dull the emotional impact of his victory. His widow, Taylor Simone Ledward, tearfully accepted in his honour, telling viewers that her husband, who died of colon cancer at 43 before the film was released, “would say something beautiful, something inspiring, something that would amplify that little voice inside of all of us that tells you you can. That tells you to keep going, that calls you back to what you are meant to be doing at this moment in history.” But, she said poignantly, “I don't have his words." Co-star Viola Davis could be seen weeping as Ledward spoke. She was not alone. PREDICTABLE ZOOM FAILS It was obvious there were going to be awkward Zoom fails. It started early, when the very first winner, Daniel Kaluuya for “Judas and the Black Messiah,” was on mute as he accepted his award, leaving presenter Laura Dern to apologize for technical difficulties. Thankfully, the problem was resolved in time for the actor to speak. Jason Sudeikis, whose charmingly rambling speech ("This is nuts!") and rumpled hoodie signalled he hadn't expected to win, finally realized he needed to “wrap this puppy up.” And winner Catherine O'Hara ("Schitt's Creek") had some perhaps unwelcome help from her husband, whose efforts to provide applause sounds and play-off music on his phone while she spoke lost something in translation, causing confusion on social media. Oh yes, and there were those conversations between nominees before commercials — did they know we heard them? KIDS AND PETS, STILL BRINGING JOY Still, the virtual acceptances from winners stuck at home had a huge silver lining: happy kids and cute pets. When Mark Ruffalo won for “I Know This Much is True,” two of his teens could not control their joy enough to stay out of the camera shot. Not to be outdone, the adorable young daughter of Lee Isaac Chung, writer-director of the Korean-American family drama “Minari,” sat in his lap and hugged him throughout his acceptance for best foreign language film. “She’s the reason I made this film,” said Chung. Winner Jodie Foster ("The Mauritanian") also had a family member in her lap: her dog. Also seen: Sarah Paulson's dog, and Emma Corrin's cat. LOVE FOR BORAT, SNUB FOR BAKALOVA ... AND EXPOSURE FOR GIULIANI Bulgarian actress Maria Bakalova, breakout star of Amazon’s “Borat Subsequent Moviefilm,” had been widely expected to win, but lost out to Rosamund Pike ("I Care a Lot") who saluted Bakalova's bravery. In her movie, Pike said, “I had to swim up from a sinking car. I think I still would rather do that than have been in a room with Rudy Giuliani.” The former New York mayor's infamous cameo was also the butt of jokes from “Borat” star Sacha Baron Cohen, who called Giuliani “a fresh new talent who came from nowhere and turned out to be a comedy genius ... I mean, who could get more laughs from one unzipping?” Baron Cohen, who won for best actor in a comedy, also joked that Donald Trump was “contesting the result” of his win. A FIERY FONDA Did you expect anything less from Fonda? In her memorable DeMille award speech, the multiple Globe winner extolled the virtues of cinematic storytelling — “stories can change our hearts and our minds” — then pivoted to admonishing Hollywood. “There's a story we’ve been afraid to see and hear about ourselves,” she said, “a story about which voices we respect and elevate and which we tune out: a story about who’s offered a seat at the table and who’s kept out of the rooms where decisions are made.” She said the arts should not merely keep step with society, but lead the way. “Let's be leaders,” she said. ZHAO MAKES HISTORY When Zhao won best director for her haunting and elegant “Nomadland,” she was the first Asian American woman ever to win that award. But that wasn't the only way she made history: it was the first directing Globe for a woman in nearly 40 years, since Barbra Streisand won for “Yentl." Her film, a look at itinerant Americans, “at its core for me is a pilgrimage through grief and healing,” Zhao said. “For everyone who has gone through this difficult and beautiful journey at some point in their lives, we don’t say goodbye, we say: See you down the road.” With Zhao's win, the road widens for other female directors. ___ This story has been corrected to show that Norman Lear is 98, not 99. Jocelyn Noveck, The Associated Press
Emma Corrin just won a Golden Globe for her portrayal of Princess Diana.
As COVID-19 vaccine supplies ramp up across the country, most provinces and territories have released details of who can expect to receive a shot in the coming weeks. Here's a list of their plans to date: Newfoundland and Labrador The province says it is in Phase 1 of its vaccine rollout. Health-care workers on the front lines of the pandemic, staff at long-term care homes, people of "advanced age" and adults in remote or isolated Indigenous communities have priority. Chief medical health officer Dr. Janice Fitzgerald has said Phase 2 will begin in April if vaccine supply remains steady. The second phase prioritizes adults over 60 years old, beginning with those over 80, as well as Indigenous adults, first responders, rotational workers and adults in marginalized populations, such as those experiencing homelessness. Adults between 16 and 59 years old will be vaccinated in the third phase of the rollout, and Fitzgerald has said she expects that to begin this summer. --- Nova Scotia Health officials in Nova Scotia announced Tuesday that vaccination rollout plans for the month included the province's first pharmacy clinics. Prototype pharmacy clinics will launch in Halifax and Shelburne on March 9, Port Hawkesbury on March 16 and Springhill on March 23. Nova Scotia plans to have vaccine available to at least 75 per cent of the population by the end of September 2021. --- Prince Edward Island Health officials in Prince Edward Island say they will shift their focus to getting a first dose of COVID-19 vaccine to all adults by July 1, even if it means delaying the second shot for some. Chief medical officer Heather Morrison has said people over the age of 80 will get a second dose based on their existing appointments. Going forward, she said, other residents will get a longer interval between their first and second doses, but she didn’t specific how long that will be. --- New Brunswick The province is also focusing on vaccinating those living in long-term care homes, health-care workers with direct patient contact, adults in First Nations communities and older New Brunswickers in the first phase, which lasts until at least March. The next phase is scheduled to begin in the spring and includes residents and staff of communal settings, other health-care workers including pharmacists, first responders and critical infrastructure employees. The government website says once the vaccine supply is continuous and in large enough quantities, the entire population will be offered the shots. --- Quebec Quebec started vaccinating older seniors Monday, after a first phase that focused largely on health-care workers, remote communities and long-term care. In Montreal, mass vaccine sites including the Olympic Stadium opened their doors to the public as the province began inoculating seniors who live in the hard-hit city. The government announced last week it would begin booking appointments for those aged 85 and up across the province, but that age limit has since dropped to 70 in some regions, including Montreal. Quebec announced Tuesday it had reached a deal with pharmacies that will allow them to start administering COVID-19 vaccines by mid-March. Health Minister Christian Dube said about 350 pharmacies in the Montreal area will start taking appointments by March 15 for people as young as 70. The program will eventually expand to more than 1,400 pharmacies across the province that will administer about two million doses. The Montreal region is being prioritized in part because of the presence of more contagious variants, such as the one first identified in the United Kingdom, Dube has said. --- Ontario The province began vaccinating people with the highest priority, including those in long-term care, high-risk retirement home residents, certain classes of health-care workers and people who live in congregate care settings. Several regions in Ontario moved ahead Monday with their plans to vaccinate the general public, while others used their own systems to allow residents aged 80 and older to schedule appointments. Toronto also began vaccinating members of its police force Monday after the province identified front-line officers as a priority group. Constables and sergeants who respond to emergency calls where medical assistance may be required are now included in the ongoing first phase of Ontario's vaccine rollout, a spokeswoman for the force said. A day earlier, Toronto said the province expanded the first phase of its vaccination drive to include residents experiencing homelessness. The provincial government has said it aims to begin vaccinating Ontarians aged 80 and older starting the week of March 15, the same day it plans to launch its vaccine booking system, which will offer a service desk and online portal. It has said the vaccine rollout will look different in each of its 34 public health units. When asked about the lack of provincewide cohesion, Health Minister Christine Elliott said that public health units know their regions best and that's why they have been given responsibility to set the pace locally. She also says the province will soon share an updated vaccine plan that factors in expected shipments of the newly approved Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine. The province will do that after getting guidance from the federal government on potentially extending the time between first and second doses, like B.C. is doing, of the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines to four months, Elliott says She also says Ontario seniors won't receive the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine since there's limited data on its effectiveness in older populations. --- Manitoba Manitoba is starting to vaccinate people in the general population. Appointments are now available for most people aged 94 and up, or 74 and up for First Nations people. Until now, vaccines have been directed to certain groups such as health-care workers and people in personal care homes. Health officials plan to reduce the age minimum, bit by bit, over the coming months. Dr. Joss Reimer, medical lead of the province's vaccine task force, has said inoculations could be open to all adults in the province by August if supplies are steady. --- Saskatchewan The province is still in the first phase of its vaccination rollout, which reserves doses for long-term care residents and staff, health-care workers at elevated risk of COVID-19 exposure, seniors over the age of 70 and anyone 50 or older living in a remote area. In all, nearly 400,000 doses are required to finish this stage. The next phase will be focused on vaccinating the general population by age. It hopes to begin its mass vaccination campaign by April, but there if there isn’t enough supply that could be pushed back to June. Saskatchewan will begin immunizing the general population in 10-year increments, starting with those 60 to 69. Also included in this age group will be people living in emergency shelters, individuals with intellectual disabilities in care homes and people who are medically vulnerable. Police, corrections staff and teachers are among the front-line workers not prioritized for early access to shots. The government says supply is scarce. The province said this week that it may follow British Columbia's lead in delaying a second dose of COVID-19 vaccine to speed up immunizations. The government says it hopes a national committee that provides guidance on immunizations will support waiting up to four months to give people a second dose. If that happens, the province could speed up how soon residents get their first shot. --- Alberta Alberta is now offering vaccines to anyone born in 1946 or earlier, a group representing some 230,000 people. Appointments are being offered through an online portal and the 811 Health Link phone line. Shots are also being offered to this cohort at more than 100 pharmacies in Calgary, Red Deer and Edmonton starting in early March and the government has said there are also plans to include doctors’ offices. Health Minister Tyler Shandro has said all eligible seniors should have their first shots by the end of March. But he said Monday that the province will not give Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine to anyone over the age of 65 after the National Advisory Committee on Immunization expressed concerned there is limited data on how well it will work in older populations. The first phase of the vaccine rollout also included anyone over 65 who lives in a First Nations or Metis community, various front-line health care workers, paramedics and emergency medical responders. Phase 2 of the rollout, to begin in April, is to start with those 65 and up, Indigenous people older than 50 and staff and residents of licensed supportive living seniors’ facilities not previously included. --- British Columbia British Columbia will extend the time between the first and second doses of COVID-19 vaccines to four months so all adults could get their initial shot by the end of July. Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry says evidence from the province and around the world shows protection of at least 90 per cent from the first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines. The province launched the second phase of its immunization campaign Monday and health authorities will begin contacting residents and staff of independent living centres, those living in seniors' supportive housing as well as homecare support clients and staff. Seniors aged 90 and up can call to make their appointment starting next Monday, followed a week later by those aged 85 and over, and a week after that by those 80 and up. Henry says the approval of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine means some people will get their first shot sooner than planned. She says B.C. will focus its rollout of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine among essential workers, first responders and younger people with more social interactions who would have to wait longer to receive their first doses of the Moderna or Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines. It's now possible that all adults could get their first shot by July, Henry says. --- Nunavut The territory says it expects enough vaccines for 75 per cent of its population over the age of 18. After a COVID-19 vaccine is administered, patients will be tracked to ensure they are properly notified to receive their second dose. Nunavut's priority populations are being vaccinated first. They include residents of shelters, people ages 60 years and up, staff and inmates and correctional facilities, first responders and front-line health-care staff. --- Northwest Territories The Northwest Territories its priority groups — such as people over 60, front-line health workers and those living in remote communities — are being vaccinated The territory says it expects to vaccine the rest of its adult population starting this month. --- Yukon Yukon says it will receive enough vaccine to immunize 75 per cent of its adult population by the end of March. Priority for vaccinations has been given to residents and staff in long-term care homes, group homes and shelters, as well as health-care workers and personal support workers. People over the age of 80 who are not living in long-term care, and those living in rural and remote communities, including Indigenous Peoples, are also on the priority list for shots. --- This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 3, 2021. The Canadian Press
WASHINGTON — The Defence Department took more than three hours to dispatch the National Guard to the deadly riot at the U.S. Capitol after a request for reinforcement from police, according to testimony Wednesday that added to the finger-pointing about the government response. Maj. Gen. William Walker, commanding general of the District of Columbia National Guard, will tell senators that the then-chief of the Capitol Police requested military support in a frantic 1:49 p.m. call, but the Defence Department's approval for that support was not relayed to him until after 5 p.m., according to prepared testimony. Guard troops who had been waiting on buses were then rushed to the Capitol. The Senate hearing is the second about what went wrong on Jan. 6, with national security officials expected to face questions about missed intelligence and botched efforts to quickly gather National Guard troops that day as a violent mob laid siege to the U.S. Capitol. Senators are eager to grill officials from the Pentagon, the National Guard and the Justice and Homeland Security departments about their preparations for Jan. 6. Supporters of then-President Donald Trump had talked online, in some cases openly, about gathering in Washington that day and interrupting the electoral count. At a hearing last week, officials who were in charge of security at the Capitol blamed one another as well as federal law enforcement for their own lack of preparation as hundreds of rioters descended on the building, easily breached the security perimeter and eventually broke into the Capitol. Five people died as a result of the rioting. So far, lawmakers conducting investigations have focused on failed efforts to gather and share intelligence about the insurrectionists’ planning before Jan. 6 and on the deliberations among officials about whether and when to call National Guard troops to protect Congress. The officials at the hearing last week, including ousted Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund, gave conflicting accounts of those negotiations. Robert Contee, the acting chief of police for the Metropolitan Police Department, told senators he was “stunned” over the delayed response and said Sund was pleading with Army officials to deploy National Guard troops as the rioting rapidly escalated. Senate Rules Committee Chair Amy Klobuchar, one of two Democratic senators who will preside over Wednesday's hearing, said in an interview Tuesday that she believes every moment counted as the National Guard decision was delayed and police officers outside the Capitol were beaten and injured by the rioters. “Any minute that we lost, I need to know why,” Klobuchar said. The hearing comes as thousands of National Guard troops are still patrolling the fenced-in Capitol and as multiple committees across Congress are launching investigations into mistakes made on Jan. 6. The probes are largely focused on security missteps and the origins of the extremism that led hundreds of Trump supporters to break through the doors and windows of the Capitol, hunt for lawmakers and temporarily stop the counting of electoral votes. Congress has, for now, abandoned any examination of Trump’s role in the attack after the Senate acquitted him last month of inciting the riot by telling the supporters that morning to “fight like hell” to overturn his defeat. As the Senate hears from the federal officials, acting Capitol Police Chief Yogananda Pittman will testify before a House panel that is also looking into how security failed. In a hearing last week before the same subcommittee, she conceded there were multiple levels of failures but denied that law enforcement failed to take seriously warnings of violence before the insurrection. In the Senate, Klobuchar said there is particular interest in hearing from Walker, the commanding general of the D.C. National Guard, who was on the phone with Sund and the Department of the Army as the rioters first broke into the building. Contee, the D.C. police chief, was also on the call and told senators that the Army was initially reluctant to send troops. “While I certainly understand the importance of both planning and public perception — the factors cited by the staff on the call — these issues become secondary when you are watching your employees, vastly outnumbered by a mob, being physically assaulted,” Contee said. He said he had quickly deployed his own officers and he was “shocked” that the National Guard “could not — or would not — do the same." Contee said that Army staff said they were not refusing to send troops, but “did not like the optics of boots on the ground” at the Capitol. Also testifying at the joint hearing of the Senate Rules Committee and the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committees are Robert Salesses of the Defence Department, Melissa Smislova of the Department of Homeland Security and Jill Sanborn of the FBI, all officials who oversee aspects of intelligence and security operations. Lawmakers have grilled law enforcement officials about missed intelligence ahead of the attack, including a report from an FBI field office in Virginia that warned of online posts foreshadowing a “war” in Washington. Capitol Police leaders have said they were unaware of the report at the time, even though the FBI had forwarded it to the department. Testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday, FBI Director Christopher Wray said the report was disseminated though the FBI’s joint terrorism task force, discussed at a command post in Washington and posted on an internet portal available to other law enforcement agencies. Though the information was raw and unverified and appeared aspirational in nature, Wray said, it was specific and concerning enough that “the smartest thing to do, the most prudent thing to do, was just push it to the people who needed to get it.” “We did communicate that information in a timely fashion to the Capitol Police and (Metropolitan Police Department) in not one, not two, but three different ways,” Wray said, though he added that since the violence that ensued was “not an acceptable result,” the FBI was looking into what it could have done differently. Mary Clare Jalonick And Eric Tucker, The Associated Press
A Vancouver Island man who teaches cross country skiing has seen his Youtube channel grow in popularity as people from around the world turn to the sport as the perfect pandemic activity. Keith Nicol has been posting videos online for the past decade. Over the past year, the number of people who subscribe to his channel has grown from 4,500 to 6,500, and his videos now accumulate between 4,000 and 4,500 views a day. “I would say that it’s really been a COVID-related thing in terms of kind of grasping the uptick,” said Nicol. “I put it down to people having time on their hands, not travelling in the winter, and looking for something to do, so they’ll pick up cross country skiing.” Nicol has a long history of teaching and running instructor courses in Atlantic Canada, where he lived before moving to Courteney six years ago. He holds a Level Four instructor training certificate for cross country skiing and a Level Three for telemark skiing from the Canadian Association of Nordic Ski Instructors. These are the highest such levels that the organization assigns for the respective sports. (In other words, Nicol truly knows what he’s talking about.) Nicol now teaches at Mount Washington. He said that his videos focus on the aspects of the sport that people struggle with, as well as key elements of technique. “I teach up at Mount Washington, so I see people repeatedly having problems doing certain activities or certain skills. So I’ll say, ‘okay, well, maybe I’ll do a video on that,’” he said. Overall, Nicol said that he’s very encouraged by the growth of cross country skiing, which experts estimate has grown by around 50 percent this year. “I think it’s great, since it’s such a great lifetime sport,” said Nicol. Nicol, who cross country skis almost every other day, also views it as the “perfect” COVID activity. “I go up Mount Washington, and I’ll look at all of the people lined up the lift, and I’ll go, ‘Well, I’m glad I’m glad I’m cross country skiing today again,’” he said. For anyone wanting to see Nicol’s cross country ski instructional videos, you can check them out at this link. Nicol also encourages anyone interested to reach out to him directly with video ideas at firstname.lastname@example.org. Joel Barde, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Sun Peaks Independent News Inc.
Corinne Tougas, Vincent Marcoux, Vincent Lafleur et Mélisande Leblanc forment un joyeux quatuor à l’œuvre derrière Le Jardin des Funambules. Ils se sont lancés dans un projet de serres froides ! L’autonomie alimentaire et la santé environnementale, des enjeux clés aujourd’hui, reposent notamment sur une agriculture locale et bio pour une alimentation saine et durable. Et ce, quatre saisons par année ! Rencontre avec Vincent Marcoux. Ces quatre anciens urbains formés en agriculture biologique ont acquis leur terre en 2016, et ont commencé leur production l’année suivante. « On trouvait ça un peu désolant d’avoir des serres vides l’hiver. On a donc plongé dans les cultures hivernales, raconte Vincent. Il existe plusieurs façons de faire. D’abord, les serres doivent pouvoir supporter la charge de la neige. Nous en exploitons cinq, certaines très peu chauffées, entre 1 et 5 degrés, et d’autres pas du tout. Dès qu’il y a une percée de soleil, rapidement, l’effet de serre se fait sentir ! Plus besoin de chauffage, il faut même ventiler. Ce n’est pas tant la température que le manque de lumière qui agit sur les cultures. » Une oasis dans le désert Des légumes verts, sains et frais au cœur de l’hiver, ça ressemble à un rêve qui devient réalité ! « Au Québec, pour l’instant, peu prennent les devants. Mais plus au sud comme dans le Maine et le Vermont ayant des climats similaires aux nôtres, plusieurs maraîchers l’expérimentent depuis longtemps et obtiennent d’excellents résultats, se réjouit M. Marcoux. On y va par essais et ajustements en utilisant le minimum de ressources et de technologies, le tout en phase avec notre objectif d’équilibre ! De plus, tirer des revenus l’hiver réduit notre charge de travail durant l’été. Trouver la bonne combinaison entre le travail, la famille et la vie personnelle était au cœur de nos réflexions initiales. Vivre décemment de ce métier en harmonie avec nos valeurs, c’est possible ! » Mesclun, laitue, roquette, oignons verts, céleri, chou kale, épinards, etc. qui ne viennent pas du bout du monde, voilà une véritable révolution alimentaire nordique ! Et ce, grâce à des défricheurs passionnés. « Dès le début de notre entreprise, on tenait à notre mission éducative. Il ne s’agit pas seulement de nourrir les gens, mais également d’aider ceux qui voudraient emboiter le pas ! Une agriculture en santé au Québec, voilà un projet qui aide à traverser des périodes comme celle que nous vivons », conclut-il. Suivez-les de près ! Leur site regorge d’infos et d’espoir en quelque sorte. Et c’est bientôt le moment de s’inscrire pour les paniers estivaux. lejardindesfunambules.com facebook.com/Lejardindesfunambules Mireille Fréjeau, Initiative de journalisme local, Journal L'Étincelle
Dr. Seuss Enterprises released a statement that the company will stop the sale and publication of six books that "portray people in ways that are hurtful and wrong."
Having spent a year living under the added pressure of COVID, many British Columbians are extremely keen for a vacation. Yet that’s not easy (or for that matter, allowed) under current provincial restrictions and recommendations. As a way to generate revenue during this difficult period, local hotels are filling the gap, offering reduced room rates and packages aimed people who live in the Kamloops region. The idea is for people to enjoy a “staycation”—that is, a vacation in one’s own backyard. Over at the Thompson Hotel and Conference Centre, there has been a big push to attract families looking for a safe environment to spend some quality time. In December, the independently owned hotel transformed one of its conference rooms into a small movie theatre. As part of a package deal, families can book this theatre. Families are also given the opportunity to book time at the hotel pool and games room. Pav Moore, co-owner and operations manager at the Thompson, said that families are loving the opportunity to do something novel and fun in a way that ensures their health and safety. “They’re loving that they can enjoy some time with their family, not cooped up in their homes, but not feel like they’re putting themselves at risk,” said Moore. Moore said that the theatre is an excellent draw, with guests invited to select from an in-house selection of films or bring their own if they prefer. She added that the package has gotten lots of buzz by word-of mouth and through social media posts. The hotel is also offering a package called Dinner and Dance. It includes a dance instruction session with an instructor from Let’s Move Dance Studio. Moore said that the packages are largely sold out, but there is some availability mid-week for March. Over at the Delta Hotels Kamloops, staff cooked up a sexy package in honour of Valentine’s Day. But instead of relegating it to the week of the 14th, they’ve offered the package throughout the month. Aptly named the Couples Escape Package (because at this point, who doesn’t need to escape) the package includes a one night accomodation in a king guestroom or one bedroom suite, Prosecco, a mini charcuterie board, a $75 gift certificate for Cordo Resto & Bar and an in-room movie. But the pièce de résistance has been the opportunity for couples to have a chance to enjoy the hotel’s rooftop jacuzzi all by themselves. Due to the popularity of the promotion, the hotel has extended the package until the end of March. The hotel is also offering a family-focussed package geared at families, beginning in March. It includes a night’s accommodation in a two-queen guest room or family suite, a $75 room dine-in credit or gift card for Cordo Resto Bar, a guaranteed rooftop pool and jacuzzi reservation and an in-room movie and snack pack. With provincial restrictions in place, hotel staff are making the best of it, offering fun ways to relax close to home. “Our target area right now is within Kamloops and about 50 kilometers outside of the Kamloops market for the next couple of months,” said Darcia Ball, marketing director of the hotel. For a full list of good travel deals, the good people over at Tourism Kamloops have put out a handy resource list to check out. Joel Barde, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Sun Peaks Independent News Inc.
KYIV, Ukraine — A court in Belarus on Tuesday handed a half-year prison sentence to a journalist on charges of revealing personal data in her report on the death of a protester, part of authorities’ crackdown on demonstrations against authoritarian President Alexander Lukashenko. Katsiaryna Barysevich of the independent Tut.by online news portal has been in custody since November, following the publication of an article in which she cited medical documents indicating that protester Raman Bandarenka died of severe injuries and wasn’t drunk — contrary to official claims. Bandarenka died in a hospital on Nov. 12 of brain and other injuries. The opposition alleged that he was brutally beaten by police who dispersed a protest in the Belarusian capital, Minsk. Bandarenka’s death caused public outrage and fueled more demonstrations. On Tuesday, the Moskovsky District Court in Minsk sentenced Barysevich to six months in prison and a fine equivalent to $1,100. It also handed a two-year suspended sentence to Artsyom Sarokin, a doctor who treated Bandarenka and shared his medical records with Barysevich, and fined him the equivalent of $550. The U.S. Embassy strongly condemned the sentence, saying in a statement that “the authorities’ assault against the truth, and against journalists and others who reveal those truths, continues unabated.” The Belarusian Association of Journalists denounced the court's verdict as part of government efforts to silence the independent media. “The authorities have unleashed unprecedented repressions against journalists, jailing some, scaring others and expelling them from the country,” said its leader, Andrei Bastunets. Barysevich's colleagues from her media outlet condemned the charges against her as “cynical and absurd” and demanded her immediate release. Last month, two other journalists in Belarus were convicted of violating public order and sentenced to two years in prison after they covered an opposition protest. Several other reporters are awaiting trial. Belarus has been shaken by protests ever since official results from the Aug. 9 presidential election gave Lukashenko a sixth term in office by a landslide. The opposition and some poll workers have said the election was rigged. Lukashenko’s government has unleashed a sweeping crackdown on post-election protests, the biggest of which attracted up to 200,000 people. Human rights activists say more than 30,000 people have been detained since the demonstrations began, with thousands beaten. The United States and the European Union have responded to the election and the crackdown by introducing sanctions against Belarusian officials. Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, the main opposition challenger in the vote who was forced to leave the country under pressure from authorities, said that Tuesday’s sentence demonstrated that “the truth has become a crime for the regime.” “Lukashenko's resignation and new elections are needed to end the horrible political and legal crisis,” Tsikhanouskaya said. “We are confident that after he steps down all those who were convicted on political grounds will be rehabilitated.” On Tuesday, the Belarusian authorities demanded the extradition of Tsikhanouskaya, who has lived in neighbouring Lithuania, on charges of plotting violent riots. Tsikhanouskaya's team rejected the charges, saying in a statement that she has always supported only peaceful protests. The Associated Press
ROME — In more farcical scenes in Serie A, bemused Lazio players walked onto the Stadio Olimpico pitch — with some even taking selfies — despite knowing that their Torino opponents were self-isolating hundreds of miles away in Turin on Tuesday. A coronavirus outbreak forced Torino players and staff into self-isolation that doesn't end until midnight Tuesday, hours after the scheduled kickoff against Lazio in Rome. Nevertheless, Lazio followed its usual matchday routine and the club announced the starting lineup on social media. The players walked around the field and some snapped selfies as they waited until 45 minutes after kickoff, when the match could be officially called off. Serie A’s governing body held an emergency meeting earlier in the day but voted not to postpone the match. “You can’t defend the league and its integrity by ignoring objective reality,” Torino president Urbano Cairo said when asked if he expected that decision. "We can’t move from Turin, that’s glaringly obvious. "I expect things to be done logically, if you add one plus one you shouldn’t have to do a thousand steps to get to two.” The decision saw a repeat of the scenes around the Juventus-Napoli match last October when the Bianconeri followed their regular matchday routine and went out onto the field despite knowing their opponent had not left Naples. Napoli was handed a 3-0 loss by the Italian league and docked one point but eventually had that overturned on appeal by the Italian Olympic Committee — after several failed attempts in other courts — and the match will be rescheduled. Cairo said the club will also fight its case through the courts if it is handed a 3-0 loss by the league's disciplinary commission. “Now we’ll see what will happen. It’s obvious we’ll appeal. We will do all the appeals possible," he said. Torino’s match against Sassuolo last Friday was postponed until March 17. That decision was announced the day before the match, two days after the local health authority in Turin ordered the temporary closure of the club’s training ground and instructed all the players and coaching staff to self-isolate. Eight Torino players and two staff members have tested positive for COVID-19. The more contagious variant that emerged in England has been identified in some cases. ___ More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports The Associated Press
A Sudbury man has been charged with impaired driving after being stopped by West Parry Sound OPP in Archipelago Township on Friday, Feb. 26. Police say that they were patrolling Highway 69 when they saw a possible impaired driver around 1:45 a.m. After stopping the vehicle and speaking with the driver, police confirmed that alcohol had been consumed. Fifty-seven-year-old Eugeniusz Lorenc of Sudbury has been charged with operation while impaired and a blood alcohol concentration of 80 plus, according to police. This is the thirteenth impaired driving charge that West Parry Sound OPP have laid in 2021. Lorenc was issued 90-day driver's license suspension and the vehicle was impounded for seven days. They are scheduled to appear in Parry Sound court on March 18. Sarah Cooke’s reporting is funded by the Canadian government through its Local Journalism Initiative. Sarah Cooke, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Parry Sound North Star
Another GTA region has begun inoculating seniors 80 years of age and older. Shallima Maharaj has the story.
LONDON — A British newspaper publisher said Tuesday it plans to appeal against a judge’s ruling that it invaded the privacy of the Duchess of Sussex by publishing parts of a letter she wrote to her estranged father after her 2018 marriage to Prince Harry. The American former actress Meghan Markle, 39, sued publisher Associated Newspapers for invasion of privacy and copyright infringement over five February 2019 articles in the Mail on Sunday and on the MailOnline website that reproduced large portions of a letter she wrote to her father, Thomas Markle. High Court judge Mark Warby ruled last month that the publisher had misused the duchess’s private information and infringed her copyright. He said the duchess “had a reasonable expectation that the contents of the letter would remain private” and concluded the paper’s publication of large chunks of it was “manifestly excessive and hence unlawful.” In written submissions released as part of a court hearing on Tuesday, Associated Newspapers’ lawyer Antony White sought permission to appeal, saying a bid to overturn Warby’s ruling “would have a real prospect of success.” The publisher's lawyers argue that the duchess wrote the letter not simply as a private message to her father but “for the public record upon advice from royal family members and palace communications staff and for use as part of a media strategy.” The judge refused permission to appeal, saying he saw “no real prospect” of another court reaching a different conclusion than he had. “The Court of Appeal, of course, may take a different view,” he said, adding that Associated Newspapers can take its case directly to the appeals court. Lawyers for Meghan, meanwhile, demanded the publisher hand over the letter and destroy any electronic copies or notes it held. They also asked the judge to order the Mail on Sunday to remove the five articles from its website and to run a front-page statement about the duchess’ legal victory. Ian Mill, an attorney for Meghan, said “the defendant defiantly continues to do the very acts which the court has held are unlawful.” The publisher's lawyers agreed to remove the articles from the website until the legal issues are resolved. The judge didn't immediately rule on the request to hand over the letter. He ordered Associated Newspapers to make an interim payment of 450,000 pounds ($625,000) toward Meghan's legal costs, and said further “financial remedies” would be dealt with later. Meghan, a former star of the American TV legal drama “Suits,” married Harry, a grandson of Queen Elizabeth II, at Windsor Castle in May 2018. Their son, Archie, was born the following year. In early 2020, Meghan and Harry announced they were quitting royal duties and moving to North America, citing what they said were the unbearable intrusions and racist attitudes of the British media. They recently bought a house in Santa Barbara, California, and are expecting a second child. In his ruling last month, the judge ruled in Meghan's favour on most points, but said a “limited trial” should be held to decide the “minor” issue of whether the duchess was “the sole author” and lone copyright holder of the letter. It is expected to take place in the fall. Jill Lawless, The Associated Press
The latest news on COVID-19 developments in Canada (all times eastern): 11:15 a.m. Quebec is reporting 588 new cases of COVID-19 and eight more deaths attributed to the novel coronavirus. Health officials say hospitalizations rose for a third consecutive day, up by 16 today, for a total of 628. The number of people in intensive care dropped by one, to 121. The province says it administered 16,458 doses of vaccine Monday, the first day of Quebec’s mass vaccination campaign for the general public. Quebec has reported a total of 288,941 COVID-19 infections and 10,407 deaths linked to the virus. --- 10:30 a.m. Ontario is reporting 966 new COVID-19 cases and 11 more deaths from the virus. The new data is based on 30,737 tests. There are 284 hospitalized people in intensive care and 189 people on ventilators. The province says it administered 22,326 doses of a COVID-19 vaccine since the last daily report. This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 2, 2021. The Canadian Press
A coalition of Indigenous and environmental organizations is calling on the Canadian and Ontario governments to impose an “immediate moratorium” on all mineral exploration or impact assessment work related to the Ring of Fire region. A dozen organizations, including the Canadian Environmental Law Association (CELA) and the Omushkegowuk Women's Water Council (OWWC), have penned an open letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Environment and Climate Change Minister Jonathan Wilkinson and provincial leaders asking for the pause. Ontario’s Ministry of Energy, Northern Development and Mines believes the Ring of Fire region in the province’s north has valuable deposits of several minerals, including chromite, which can be used to make stainless steel. Ontario Premier Doug Ford has labelled it a “multibillion-dollar opportunity.” Yet there have been persistent questions over its true potential and concerns over the risk that a rush into a mining boom will end up trampling Indigenous rights and damaging the sensitive local environment. Ancient peatlands, or muskeg, in the region cover over 325,000 square kilometres, representing roughly 26 gigatons of carbon. Environment and Climate Change Canada has said the wetlands in the region “include extensive, globally significant peatlands.” The department has acknowledged that activities linked to construction “could have negative effects on wetlands.” “The muskeg itself currently is a carbon sink,” explained Kerrie Blaise, northern services legal counsel with CELA, in an interview Monday. “But once it’s disturbed, its storage capabilities are removed and so then it becomes a carbon emitter. So it’s a very sensitive type of ecosystem.” The groups also said assessments of mining activity should not proceed until “access to clean water, housing, and health services have been secured for all upstream and downstream communities from the proposed Ring of Fire.” “Mining interests cannot continue to be prioritized over the health, lands, and natural laws of Indigenous communities,” reads the letter, dated Feb. 24. “Living up to the promise of reconciliation means action is required now to prevent further violations of Indigenous rights.” Wilkinson has received the letter and is currently reviewing the request, press secretary Moira Kelly told Canada’s National Observer on Monday. Two federal impact assessments on access roads to Ring of Fire mining sites are currently ongoing: one on a 107-kilometre all-season supply road linking with Webequie First Nation and another on a 190- to 230-kilometre multi-use road connecting with Marten Falls. Canada’s federal Impact Assessment Act does not explicitly allow Wilkinson to declare a "moratorium" on assessments, and it offers a relatively narrow range of options for assessments to be ended. Essentially, either the proponent has to tell the Impact Assessment Agency of Canada or the minister in writing that the project won’t be carried out or otherwise fail to provide information within certain time limits. Last year, however, Wilkinson also ordered a regional assessment in the Ring of Fire area, based on the potential for mining development to “cause adverse effects within federal jurisdiction,” as he put it in letters to the requesters — including those that contribute to climate change, or impact fish and fish habitat, migratory birds under the Migratory Bird Convention Act and wildlife under the Species at Risk Act. That regional assessment is still in the planning stages. The assessment agency also said in January it would continue to accept public input on how it should go about planning the assessment. Blaise said Wilkinson should take the opportunity and put the brakes on all activity. “Hypothetically, the federal government could say, ‘Great, we’re going to pause the (regional) impact assessment. We’re going to make sure communities know that this is going on — we’re going to make sure communities have awareness — we’re going to make sure communities have information in front of them,” she said. In addition to OWWC and CELA, the letter was written by East Coast Environmental Law, Friends of the Attawapiskat River, Mining Injustice Solidarity Network, MiningWatch Canada, Northwatch, Ontarians for a Just Accountable Mineral Strategy, Sierra Club Canada Foundation, West Coast Environmental Law, Wildlands League and World Wildlife Fund Canada. Blaise said the letter was meant to amplify another call made in January by the Mushkegowuk Council Chiefs, representing seven Cree First Nations including Attawapiskat, for a moratorium on development until a “proper protection plan” is implemented. The chiefs said it was “irresponsible” to continue planning for industrial development during the COVID-19 pandemic and “while we are still fighting to secure clean water for our community.” Carl Meyer / Local Journalism Initiative / Canada’s National Observer Carl Meyer, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, National Observer
WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court appeared ready Tuesday to uphold voting restrictions in Arizona in a key case that could make it harder to challenge a raft of other voting measures Republicans have proposed following last year's elections. All six conservative justices, appointed by Republican presidents, suggested they would throw out an appellate ruling that struck down the restrictions as racially discriminatory under the landmark Voting Rights Act. The three liberal members of the courts, appointed by Democrats, were more sympathetic to the challengers. Less clear is what standard the court might set for how to prove discrimination under the law, first enacted in 1965. The outcome could make it harder, if not impossible, to use the Voting Rights Act to sue over measures making their way through dozens of Republican-controlled state legislatures that would make it more difficult to vote. Civil rights group and Democrats, argue that the proposed restrictions would disproportionately affect minority voters, important Democratic constituencies. Democrats in Congress, meanwhile, have proposed national legislation that would remove obstacles to voting erected in the name of election security. Mark Sherman, The Associated Press
The Creative City Network of Canada identifies arts and culture as powerful tools contributing to positive change within any community. Activities help create dialogue between community members and a safe space for leadership and activism to be taught and learned. The Vancouver-based organization is made up of municipalities and corporations across the country that want to support cultural development in their communities through different forms of art. The City of Brampton has suffered on this front for years. It’s last arts-related organization, the Brampton Arts Council (BAC) was dismantled in 2015 after the City changed the way it was funding community organizations, following years of wide scale mismanagement under the leadership of former mayor Susan Fennnell, who divided and politicized the arts community. BAC was founded in 1978 and received most of its funding from the City in the 13 years before it ceased operations. The group had obvious problems of its own. Sharon Vandrish, co-chair of the Brampton Arts Coalition Committee (BACC), told The Pointer there was no regular communication between the BAC and the leaders of different arts groups they were to assist, making their agenda unclear. Despite the problems, funding still flowed, but once the BAC was disbanded, Brampton’s local arts community was left without any support. To change this, the BACC, made up of local artists and industry professionals, has been advocating for some sort of revival for the past three years. In a February 2019 presentation to council, the group illustrated just how bad things were in the city. At the time, using a conservative population estimate of 594,000 residents, the city was putting less than a dollar per person toward the arts, the lowest among Canada’s big cities. Brampton had no city staff or board members dedicated toward an arts council. Mississauga was putting $2.76 toward the arts for each resident, and had 4 staff members and 17 arts directors at the time. Changes were desperately needed. Vandrish and other local artists received some hope at a council meeting a little over a year ago. In January 2019, council approved the creation of the Arts, Culture and Creative Industry Development Agency (the Agency for short) to help revive Brampton’s creative industries. These industries are a key focus of the city’s future planning, as summarized in Brampton’s 2040 Vision, a detailed document outlining Brampton’s long-term growth model. The creation of the Agency was a talking point in the City’s first Cultural Master Plan. Approved in 2018, it helped highlight why Brampton’s art scene was struggling and proposed a body devoted to arts and cultural development, which would help the city implement programs under one organized structure. “The lack of such a [master] plan has led to an uncoordinated and reactive approach to issues as they emerge. Without a guiding strategy to provide course and direction, there has been confusion and some frustration amongst those active in the arts and cultural community,” the Master Plan states. Nuvi Sidhu was hired last month as the chair of the panel that will incorporate the Agency. Sidhu, a project management consultant who has worked with local artists, will be responsible for hiring the rest of the panel. It’s unclear how the hiring for the position was handled. The Pointer sent the City questions about the process and the project’s future but did not receive a response. Vandrish said she was “pleased” with the announcement of the new hiring. While the original goal was to have the hiring done in the fall, given ongoing challenges due to the pandemic, she’s glad the hiring was even done. While it’s a step in the right direction, there are still concerns around the project. Besides the chair, the seven-member panel will include program lead Michael Vickers who was hired alongside Sidhu, one member of council, a local artist, and one creative entrepreneur, among others. While Vandrish said she understands the importance of having panel members who specialize in finance, legal, and project management, to help run a successful organization, artists are the ones who know their craft and associated challenges because they face them every day. She doesn’t believe having only one artist on the panel is a good model to follow because there isn’t going to be enough input from the community. “Who knows better what's going on and how to make things work in the arts groups than the arts leaders themselves,” Vandrish questioned. “In my opinion, it's still potentially flawed in having fair and equal balance for the arts leaders that are here, that are local.” Having more than one artist on the panel could help address the problem of silos, as outlined in the Cultural Master Plan. This happens when the city’s arts communities don’t work together given many residents don’t see themselves represented in traditional cultural mediums, such as theatre (or a particular theatre) even if inclusivity is emphasized. The concern is that in such a diverse city, cultural and artistic expression needs to be supported in an incredibly broad, inclusive way that doesn’t leave groups and communities on the sidelines. It’s a problem Vandrish has faced. She’s having trouble getting members of the South Asian-Canadian community, who make up a majority of Brampton’s residents, to come out and see a musical, or go to another arts event and celebrate culture as a group. Similarly, the team behind Vibrant Brampton, a South Asian festival, says an issue they have is attracting members outside of the South Asian community, Vandrish said. In such a plural community, programming for all the unique and diverse cultural interests can be impossible. In the past, Brampton, and its small number of arts groups, did a poor job of reflecting the demographics of the city. But efforts have been made at City Hall to ensure municipal venues like the Rose Theatre focus on arts and cultural offerings that appeal to a broader range of Brampton’s residents. It remains hard to bring everyone together, Vandrish said. There are other concerns around the timing of the project. The goal for the Agency is to become a self-funding organization that does not need taxpayer support. The plan, presented by staff in January 2020, states this won’t happen until 2024. “We can’t wait three more years,” Vandrish said. Between 2020 and 2024, the City will put more than $3.3 million toward the project. It’s not clear if the pandemic will have an impact on the timeline or the project’s final cost. The staff report states $576,000 will go toward the plan this year, but a funding source is not included. The 2021 budget does not specifically mention the project. Maintaining independence and being separated from politics is important, Vandrish said, as doing so will remove the “backroom conversations” from the mix. She says some arts groups believe the only way to get interest around their initiatives is to speak with a member of council privately and develop a connection with them, eventually gaining funding that may not be offered to other groups. It’s a reality when properly formulated processes do not exist. Fennell came under fire for her relationship with arts groups, which were drawn into her broader network of political supporters, in exchange for her help. It was a fraught period highlighted by an acrimonious end to the once venerated Brampton Symphony Orchestra, considered one of Canada’s best community symphonies. It folded shortly after 2013, when the City, under Fennell’s watch, banned it from performing in municipal venues such as the Rose, its previous home, following a feud with Fennell over funding irregularities by the former mayor’s private arts gala. These types of political entanglements are something many artists want to avoid. “I believe that the council should designate an amount of funds that the City will provide, and that the council is independent of political influence…[artists] shouldn’t be at the mercy of who they know,” Vandrish said. According to the staff report, the city councillor named to the panel will be the last member designated. While staying independent from the City is the goal, having a council representative in such groups is standard. The new hiring is bittersweet news for an industry that has struggled to survive throughout the pandemic, a dark drama Vandrish has had a front seat for as the president of the Brampton Music Theatre. The group was forced to move out from its previous home over the summer because of a lack of funds. Three other groups at the facility met the same fate, and one has since gone under, Vandrish said. “We’ve all just been focused in the last year on trying to stay alive,” she said. “Performing arts in general has been destroyed by the pandemic.” Email: email@example.com Twitter: @nida_zafar Tel: 416 890-7643 COVID-19 is impacting all Canadians. At a time when vital public information is needed by everyone, The Pointer has taken down our paywall on all stories relating to the pandemic and those of public interest to ensure every resident of Brampton and Mississauga has access to the facts. For those who are able, we encourage you to consider a subscription. This will help us report on important public interest issues the community needs to know about now more than ever. You can register for a 30-day free trial HERE. Thereafter, The Pointer will charge $10 a month and you can cancel any time right on the website. Thank you. Nida Zafar, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Pointer
A Toronto man has been charged with impaired driving in Parry Sound following a motor vehicle collision. West Parry Sound OPP say that they responded to the incident on Bowes Street around 3:30 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 25. As a result of an investigation, police arrested and charged 54-year-old Gregory Coleman of Toronto with operating a motor vehicle while impaired, blood alcohol concentration of 80 plus, and having open alcohol outside of a licensed establishment, residence or private place. He was given 90-day driver's license suspension and his vehicle was impounded for seven days. Coleman will appear in Parry Sound court on April 1. Sarah Cooke’s reporting is funded by the Canadian government through its Local Journalism Initiative. Sarah Cooke, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Parry Sound North Star
TORONTO — Ontario's health minister says the province won't administer the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine to seniors. Christine Elliott says the province plans to follow the advice of a national panel recommending against using that vaccine on people aged 65 and older. The National Advisory Committee on Immunization has recommended the shot not be used for seniors due to concern about limited data on how it will work in older populations. Elliott says the vaccine could more easily be used in sites like correctional facilities because it does not need to be stored at the same cold temperatures as other vaccines already in use. She also says the province is waiting for recommendations from the immunization committee on whether Ontario can extend the interval between administering first and second vaccine doses to four months. Elliott says Ontario will share its updated vaccine rollout plan once that advice is received, factoring in expected supply of Oxford-AstraZeneca doses as well. This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 2, 2021. The Canadian Press
TORONTO — Public health authorities have ordered the closure of a Toronto school after several cases of a COVID-19 variant were found. Toronto's health unit says a COVID-19 outbreak in Donwood Park Public School has sickened six people in the school. Those include four cases that have screened positive for a variant. The unit says the four variant cases are likely from community exposure. It says testing is recommended for the whole school as well as families of those at the school. Health officials say the school's temporary closure is a "precautionary measure" to allow an investigation to be conducted while preventing further virus spread. This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 2, 2021. This story was produced with the financial assistance of the Facebook and Canadian Press News Fellowship. The Canadian Press